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    • zippychick
    • By zippychick 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    • 9,343Posts
    • 17,889Thanks
    • #1
    • 4th Jun 11, 11:19 AM
    4th Jun 11 at 11:19 AM
    Hi everyone,

    Welcome to the eighth Grocery Challenge of 2012 Holy majoly, where has the year gone?!?!?!?!!?

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your March budget, then keep on posting in the:
    July 2012 Grocery Challenge

    As always this challenge is to reduce your own grocery budget to levels that you will be pleased with, not forgetting that we always recommend that you stay inside your own comfort levels and take things gently one step at a time. Remember that this is not a's designed to take you and your grocery spending to a level you are happy with.

    If you are new to the challenge I have quoted the advice from Galtizz below which will help you get started.

    Please post into this thread for help and advice and support at any time. Good luck to everyone taking part!

    I have said this before, but for all the newbies to the challenge;

    For the first month I took a guess at the budget but I really had no idea how much I was spending.

    I found the best thing is to have a guess the first month but SAVE ALL OF YOUR RECEIPTS (and yes, that does include the ones from the local shop when you run out of milk ), then at the end of the month add them all up and have a look if you were on budget, if not, it doesn't matter because your budget was a guess. For the next month you can use the total of your receipts and take a bit off to get a realistic budget, just shave off as much as you think you can, it could be 1 a week or 20 a week.

    If you are currently spending 200 a month don't suddenly drop it to 100 - you'll never do it but if you cut 20 a month off for a few months you'll get there eventually without feeling you're missing out on anything.

    You might think you've done everything you can in the first month but someone always comes up with a new idea and, if you try it you often find you save a bit more (unless you are SarahSaver who is an expert at this and could only save more if she turned her back garden into a paddy field and lived on rice ) In the first month I thought, I'm planning meals, I couldn't possibly save any more, but then I started double cooking and freezing, and making soup instead of buying it in tins.

    I've been doing this since Feb but only saved ALL of my receipts last month, it has given me a much better idea of where it is all going. Budget for next month is 80 for 2 of us, I'll start on 30/4. I could probably save more, by eating different foods but I can afford to live on 80, I have saved a lot of money since Feb. and I don't waste food or money any more. So I'm happy with my budget.
    By request, here is Spiggles wonderful helpful post

    We all have different budgets that suit our households. The most important thing to remember is that you set yours according to your needs and finances. It can take time to get to where you want to be too so don't knock yourself out if you go over in the first few months. We are here to support each other and it is not a competition.

    I thought it might help to outline where we've come from and the top tips I've learned.

    When we started in March 2010 we had spent in excess of 600 in the previous month. This had to stop, (there's only me and him and our two beautiful black cats) something which thankfully my OH completely agreed with so I have been lucky that he has been on board from the start. He gave me his debit card voluntarily and I still keep hold of it until he needs to get something for the home. At the same time we set up a system of pocket money (pm) at 15 each per week which doesn't count towards the GC and which we can each spend as we wish with no comebacks or complaints. OH predominantly uses his pm on his beer and I ferret mine away mostly.

    The next step was to set up my own spreadsheet which is absolutely simple onto which I put all spends so that I have a continuous running total for the month and for the year. We initially set our budget at 280 per month and brought it down to 240 where it resides for most of the year it is occasionally increased to allow for extras e.g. Christmas to 260.

    The important 'tools' we found greatly helped and continue to do so now are:

    Stocktake cupboards, fridge, freezer - make lists and ensure that the older products get used up first. You'll be amazed at what you find squirrelled away and it will help with your shopping list as you'll realise that you don't actually need so much.

    Before you go shopping check staples - running out of milk, bread, butter, etc often leads to going into a shop for one thing and coming out 20 lighter. Always check these and if they'll run out tomorrow buy them the same time as getting other things.

    Always make a shopping list and stick to it - the supermarkets (sm) try every which way to get us to spend so having a list and strong resolve is the only way to beat them.

    Keep every receipt - and then note it down on your spreadsheet/spend diary so that you always know where you are.

    When tempted, ask yourself do you NEED it or just WANT it - now this advice goes with two things. Firstly, the things you see in store when shopping that APPEAR to be bargains - if you hadn't planned spending the money then its not a bargain. Secondly, the sm send us loads of vouchers for X off a spend of XX - if you had no NEED to spend XX then have you SAVED anything???

    Use my supermarket to compare prices (limited to four of the biggies) - The site may be used to actually do an online shop at whichever of the big four offers the best value or, if you have the time and sm availability, to make up lists for visiting each of the stores so that you can purchase all you need at different stores thus getting the best possible value. (I'd add, do a 'shop' virtually on this site and take the list you create on it with you, whichever one you shop at, it will help keep target prices in your head and allow you to spot bargains. MrM is not included but you can do a virtual list on their website so you know what you're going to be spending.)

    Always have a list - this is just as important when shopping online as shopping on foot.

    Use Approved Foods online (with a list!) - if you don't mind out of date things (ood) or you can search for only in date items. The only drawback is storing the goods as far as I can tell. Oh, and watch the delivery as it's done on a scaled charge for weight so keep an eye on it. You can of course do an AF order with friends, family, colleagues or like minded neighbours. Other GCers use Big Br*nds 4 Less too.

    Invest in a breadmaker - we have saved so much by making our own bread. The prices in the shops are extortionate for bread these days. There's loads of advice on this thread and others in the forum on this.

    Use the recipe lists - always posted at the front of a new thread. There are fantastic, tasty, healthy and economical recipes to use on them and there are a number of other threads on the forum such as Weezl's that will help you to eat well on a budget.

    Shop locally - the local greengrocer (or preferably market but I don't have one ) is usually cheaper as an option for fruit and veg (f&v) than the sm. Often the prices may look the same but when you look at the quantity for the same price the greengrocer will be cheaper. The same goes for the local butcher. Often you will have far more variety of meat available, advice on how to cook a particular meat can be offered and there is (for me at least) no comparison in terms of quality. We buy our huge FR eggs there and I'm yet to find an equivalent FR egg in a sm at the same or lower price. Obvioulsy if you have your own chicks/know someone who has chicks you can get them even cheaper again.

    Grow your own - it's quite simple to grow some f&v at home even if it's only in pots on the patio. There are also supportive threads on the forum for this.

    Cook your own - making meals at home from ingredients is far more economical, often tastes better than shop bought and is probably far better healthwise.

    Meal Plan - this is something that others can advise on as we don't do it. I have a tremendous capacity for eating the same food over many days but presented in slightly different form. For example, we could buy 7 worth of brisket from the butchers and eat it as pot roast for a couple of days, sliced for sarnies, sliced with a salad, chucked into a casserole or shredded up and fried as crispy beef.

    Don't waste food - either only make what you need or use any leftovers for other meals/creations or freeze it for another day.

    Withdraw the cash you want to spend - and keep it in a separate purse. This can be particularly effective as you have the money in front of you reducing rather than spending with plastic which is so easy to lose track of. Very useful when you first start out.

    Don't go to the shops to browse - this can only lead to pain and hardship!!!

    Keep posting and reading the thread - there really is no better supportive, wise and inspirational place to be! I think I saw that somebody mentioned forgetting to read/post. I get around this by using the Advanced button to post, below the window where your text is displayed you will see Additional Options. In the Thread Subscription box use the dropdown to select either instant email notification (this is what I use) or daily email notification before you submit your latest post. Then you will get an email into your inbox from which you can click to the thread to see what others are saying.

    Always remember the sm is not your friend - it wants to profit from you and take as much of your money as it can coerce out of you!

    So, there you go as a starting point. Others on here will offer tremendous advice on meal planning. And don't forget, the only silly question is the one you didn't ask!

    See you all later,
    For quidelines on posting in this thread please read the second post in this thread.

    For the Grocery challenge Recipe Index please see posts #3, #4, #5 #6 and #7 on this thread.

    For everyones totals, see post #8 on this thread

    I hope everyone has a great month!

    Last edited by zippychick; 22-07-2012 at 11:49 AM.
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men
    Norn Iron club member #380

Page 39
    • savesummore
    • By savesummore 19th Aug 12, 2:35 PM
    • 943 Posts
    • 11,411 Thanks
    Just Popping by to say 25 spent on food last night (eating out) have updated signature- hopefull no more spends for August GC!!

    Some great recipes on here last few days

    Bossymoo- your coleslaw looked great
    JJ- your cakes looked amazing
    Suffolk Lass- Yum yum BBQ belly pork- sounds lovely

    Im thinking Suffolk Lass BBQ pork with Bossymoo coleslaw followed by JJ Lime & coconut cupcakes would be a lovely meal next weekend

    I cant wait
    O/S weight loss 2.5 /10lbs (11st 8.0- 08.02)
    • Nicki_Sue
    • By Nicki_Sue 19th Aug 12, 2:45 PM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 7,408 Thanks
    Hi all
    I'm a huge lurker on here so thought it was time to post and join in. I'll start from tomorrow to get myself in to swing for a couple of weeks and then join the list and declare properly from the beginning of September. I have to say, it was the coconut pics that made me get off my bum and post in the end!

    I'm going for 100 a week (this is all food, toiletries, nappies etc for 4 of us), is it ok to include these items or should it be strictly food? Thanks all.
    11 YEARS ON MSE!

    JANUARY 10 A DAY: 0/310
    • Coxy11
    • By Coxy11 19th Aug 12, 2:47 PM
    • 2,323 Posts
    • 27,347 Thanks
    Hellooooo! Well we are back from our US holiday, having flown last night. No sleep yet(!) but hanging on in there as will be better to stay awake for as long as we can

    MrT delivery came this afternoon so I will be updating my totals shortly. BIL and his two girls here today. He has them for two weeks in the summer (4 & 5 years and soooo cute). We did fresh pasta and sauce with bacon for lunch.

    Will revisit our mealplan for this week when I'm functioning better One things for sure tho', need to lose some weight! Off to catch up on what I've missed
    Cross-stitch WIP: Pretty Maids in a Row
  • jumblejack
    What to do with a YS coconut Part 2
    So what happened to my HM coconut milk?

    Coconut and banana icecream.......

    It started with a few frozen bananas and my fantastic coconut milk:

    I blended em together (peeling off the frozen banana peel with a paring knife whilst donning an oven glove...bbbrr!)

    I added a bit of my blitzed coconut for texture:

    I would have added a splash of rum but had to make do with this:

    Then I poured it into a suitable container for freezing*:

    It doesn't necessarily need sweetening but if you have a sweet tooth, feel free to add syrup, honey or sugar. Brown sugar would probably be the tastiest option.

    *This needs to be taken out of the freezer regularly whilst it is freezing as ice crystals will form if you are not using an icecream maker (unlike the miracle one ingredient banana icecream which requires no churning at all!

    I will add the finished product when it is frozen......


    Here is the ice cream (accompanying my HM peach cobbler)

    Last edited by jumblejack; 28-08-2012 at 12:59 PM.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • pajama
    • By pajama 19th Aug 12, 3:04 PM
    • 103 Posts
    • 1,586 Thanks
    Well, I know I'm not going to achieve my GC this month!

    Spend in Aldi 22.18
    That leaves me 5.60 until 27th which is payday. Will keep spends to the minimum. I have most of the things in for our main meals all next week.
    Grocery Challenge - Sept 205.56/350.00

  • jumblejack
    What to do with a YS coconut Part 3
    So what happened to my HM blitzed coconut meat?

    I turned it into Can't Go Wrong Coconut Confections......

    I roughly mixed 1 part sugar to 2 parts coconut with a tablespoon of plain flour and some almond essence. To this I added a couple of egg whites.

    I rolled into balls and spaced them out on a lightly greased tray:

    Put em in a moderate oven until a pale golden colour:

    They are kinda in between the coconut balls in the index and a macaroon.

    (If you want them lighter in texture, whip the egg whites first and fold them into the dry ingredients.)

    You could always coat em in chocolate if you fancy.....

    Now. What shall I do with my other 9p coconut????? Hmmm......
    Last edited by jumblejack; 20-08-2012 at 8:29 AM.
    Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present.!
    Grocery Spend Weekly Challenge (Sat-Fri):30.50/40
    • Caterina
    • By Caterina 19th Aug 12, 3:29 PM
    • 5,813 Posts
    • 40,382 Thanks
    JJ you are a GENIUS! Your coconut recipes are wonderful, a true inspiration. Will look out for coconuts the next time I go to the market.

    Updated signature to show for today's grocery spend, we also spent 9.50 for a plant and card for friends' 30th anniversary party and 63.31 fuel (filled her up). Really irritated that DH did not listen to me the other day when I said we need to fill her up, petrol prices are going to go up. Diesel was already at 1.349 then, today we filled at 1.389 per litre. I know it is less than 3 more but you know what? This indicates the difference between my approach to money and DH's. Admittedly he works very hard and thinks that it is not worth troubling yourself on 2 or so, but I don't get paid for my work, the savings I make are my pay, he does not seem to understand that for me it all adds up to the equivalent to a salary, if I save a bit here and a bit there.

    The amount of money I save ("earn" in effects) by shopping in different places, making homemade stuff etc, would easily add up to a tidy sum. Ah least he is on board for so many things that he never used to be before. He lives a much better, healthier lifestyle now and we are so much better off than we have ever been. Although his salary alone now is very reasonable, it is still less than his previous salary plus my former salary added up (net), and we live much better just by virtue of having me doing all the domestic economy and OS living. He appreciates it, but as far as I can see it he will never be a true dyed-in-the-wool OSer!

    Hope your GCs are going well, enjoy the sunshine while it lasts!
    Finally I'm an OAP and can travel free (in London at least!).
    • forever saving
    • By forever saving 19th Aug 12, 3:45 PM
    • 565 Posts
    • 8,850 Thanks
    forever saving
    JJ, would you be so kind as to tell me how you make you banana ice cream please? Also, could i add some chocolate chips to it? I have about 8 bananas that are on the turn and my lot are not fond of any sort of cake with bananas in. I'm sure they would like the ice cream though. Thankyou in advance.
    FS x
    Jan GC 298.62/300 Feb 298.01/300 March 331.06/300 April 69.96/300
    Learning to accept the things i cannot change
  • rosieben
    jumblejack, I've added parts 2 and 3 to the Misc and also listed the 2 recipes in the desserts section

    re what to do with the other coconut - I think cherries go very well with coconut
    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
    • savesummore
    • By savesummore 19th Aug 12, 5:15 PM
    • 943 Posts
    • 11,411 Thanks
    Hi all
    I'm a huge lurker on here so thought it was time to post and join in. I'll start from tomorrow to get myself in to swing for a couple of weeks and then join the list and declare properly from the beginning of September. I have to say, it was the coconut pics that made me get off my bum and post in the end!

    I'm going for 100 a week (this is all food, toiletries, nappies etc for 4 of us), is it ok to include these items or should it be strictly food? Thanks all.
    Originally posted by Nicki_Sue
    Hi and Welcome

    You include whatever you feel like your GC budget- everyone includes different things to suit themselves

    I include all food including eating out, toiletries, cleaning products and pet food but not booze (with OH this would make GC budget hideous )

    O/S weight loss 2.5 /10lbs (11st 8.0- 08.02)
    • Nicki_Sue
    • By Nicki_Sue 19th Aug 12, 5:22 PM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 7,408 Thanks
    Thanks @savesomemore

    What are the odds of not twenty minutes after posting that I was going to join the challenge, the heating element on my cooker blowing leaving me oven-less.
    No joke!

    Oh well. GC with a microwave, stove top, slow cooker and lean mean grilling machine it is then
    11 YEARS ON MSE!

    JANUARY 10 A DAY: 0/310
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 19th Aug 12, 5:31 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Hi everyone I'm back from my birthday trip to London feeling nice and well rested! Had a fantastic time courtesy of OH, who really is amazing at the birthday thing Only slight hiccup was that we came back yesterday so i had to spend nearly seven hours of my actual birthday on a train!! Even he admitted it wasn't a good idea, but it was worth it for the rest of the trip. He bought me a Japanese take-away last night to quickly scoff before friends came round for drinks as well, mmmmm.

    Went out with parents, sister and family friends for lunch today which was paid for by my parents and the friends and I think OH had the leftover sushi etc. Having HM pizzas tonight

    Mr A delivery arrived - 56.10 in total including delivery for fruit, veg, milk, eggs,, cheeses, butter, yoghurt, ham, spaghetti, noodles, olive oil, cat food & litter, cleaning supplies, toiletries, coke, crisps, coconut milk, passata, sugar and coffee. I have updated my signature but OH has a receipt for a spend of around 12 before we went to London and I just asked him for it but he's too busy watching a 'man film' so it's not including that . His loss as he paid with his personal card and I can't transfer the money from our joint account until he tells me how much it was!
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
    • bossymoo
    • By bossymoo 19th Aug 12, 6:37 PM
    • 6,817 Posts
    • 87,056 Thanks
    NSD here, except 1.49 on a new cover for my rotary airer. Not grocery spends though.

    Away with the fairies
  • KolaKube
    Hello all!

    Well, OH and I have spent the weekend down at my parents caravan whilst they're away. Relatively cheap weekend grocery wise as we took food from our own fridge / cupboard down, and were fed yesterday evening by OHs parents in their caravan, so no spends there. Did spend 1 on two bars of chocolate last night, but that's seriously good going for us lol.

    Unfortunately there were some non-grocery spends (on some garden chairs and a freeview box for OHs parents as a present for their new caravan), so not quite a NS weekend..

    Anyway, on the way home today we decided to go and get a pub tea (we let ourselves get hungry, mistake!). Luckily the pub was packed so we came away. Then on the way back we decided we'd get a chinese... but the heavens absolutely opened (never seen rain like it!) so we just went home and dashed inside. Long story short, some frozen whoopsie MrM&S burgers later (50p!) with an onion from the fridge, rolls, cheese slices, salad... yum yum!!! I'm so proud of us lol

    Thank god we did though as I've just checked our bank account and there's very little in there to last to the 29th (nothing, in fact...), due to quite a few unplanned spends this month (OHs car etc). Not willing to dip into savings so we'll have to make do!

    MrT order cancelled for tomorrow and I'm going to meal plan from what we've already got in... this could get interesting!

    Kola xx
    • Possession
    • By Possession 19th Aug 12, 7:02 PM
    • 3,140 Posts
    • 41,491 Thanks
    34 spend in Aldi this morning, got lots of milk and fruit and the huge bags of potatoes on the Super Six. In fact it was a great Super Six for us today. Plus ice lollies, packed lunch stuff and various bits and pieces which should see us through until Sept GC which is a week away for us. Probably only milk to get in the week, which I'm pleased about as I thought the children being here all the time would blow my budget.

    • Soworried
    • By Soworried 19th Aug 12, 7:08 PM
    • 2,150 Posts
    • 19,990 Thanks
    JJ, That is not fair.

    I have no YS coconut and now I will have to buy 1 at full price to try them macaroon type things. Baked coconut balls?

    Just as well I have budget left.
    One step must start each journey
    One word must start each prayer
    One hope will raise our spirits
    One touch can show you care
  • sjprmc01
    Right, we were on the last tiny bit of money till the child benefit goes in tomorrow

    I had a manufacturers coupon once again 1.50. For bread (1.25) and instructed OH to buy an ambrosia custard pot (the cheapest thing in shop from same mfr group). Which meant those two would cost 24p. He then had the only other money in the house 3.10 to get milk and a separate milk for his work. And he took it upon himself to buy choccy bars. And I haven't seen a penny of the change.......he cannot be trusted with shopping while I am at work! So......I'm guessing that's another 3.10 worth of spends I need to add!
    No more unnecessary toiletries Feb 2014 INS: 24 UU: 13. Mar 2014. INS: lost count, naughty step for me! UU: 8
    • PennyGrabber
    • By PennyGrabber 19th Aug 12, 9:11 PM
    • 1,268 Posts
    • 22,438 Thanks
    Have been a bit quiet for one reason or another for the last week or so, but am breaking my silence now because I need some 'there there' words!

    I returned from camping today to find my freezer door open, and loads of things soft. My best friend has been feeding the cat while we've been away, and she must've shut the fridge door too hard, as that sometimes makes the freezer door open (on account of the freezer being too full...!).

    Nothing could be salvaged as I don't know how long it had been like that, but at least it wasn't the entire contents of the freezer. I reckon about 80 full price worth of stuff has been chucked, although a lot of it ys. GUTTED!!!
    Grocery challenge for family of three - me, dd(12) and ds(11), feeding dp 2 or 3 x a week too. Only food, not toiletries. Jan 87.97/100 Feb 0/100
    Frugal 2018 needed! Saving and NOT spending
    • Bluegreen143
    • By Bluegreen143 19th Aug 12, 9:29 PM
    • 1,108 Posts
    • 12,739 Thanks
    Aw Pennygrabber that's rubbish! Our freezer tends to sit open a crack if we're not careful to shut it properly and it worries me. Such a shame it couldn't be salvaged

    By the way, meant to say earlier that JJ's coconut things look great!! Not actually keen on coconut but love how you used every bit of it. You always do really well with YS shopping

    Made HM pizzas for dinner. My friend works in Peckham's and brought me lovely olives and balsamic onions for my birthday so had these on the pizzas along with the first two home grown chillies and salami for OH, mushrooms for me. Soooo yummy Here's OH's:

    And mine:

    Btw mine is smaller and is on a smaller plate, I'm not just really greedy or anything!!

    EDIT this looks really odd as I somehow managed not to resize them the same size?!
    Married 1 March 2014 DS born 06 Dec 2014 DD born 14 Dec 2018
  • rosieben
    All March recipes are now in the recipe index (added to this August thread)

    bodmin789 - Herby Chickpea Balls
    Barbeduk- Fruity Tea Bread
    Kylieminoag - Remoulade made with celeriac
    Suffolk lass - Coconut ice-cream (DF)

    SC/casserole Pork Stew (GF&DF)
    SC Lamb Pot Roast (GF&DF)
    Sausage Bake (GF)
    Potato, leek and egg bake (GF&DF)
    Pork with leeks, apples, creme fraiche and mustard (GF)

    Vegan Mediterranean Lentil Pie
    Chickpea Stroganoff
    Leftover Vegetable Curry

    ... don't throw the string away. You always need string!

    C.R.A.P.R.O.L.L.Z Head Sharpener
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